Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media
Episode directed by Yuji Endo
We’re back with another episode of Sailor Moon Retro! When we last left our heroes, they were in a rather uncomfortable and dated adventure regarding weight loss and self-esteem. In hindsight, it may not have been the BEST way to tackle those subjects, but then again you can’t always go back to stuff from twenty years ago and expect it to get everything right in regards to modern sensibilities. Besides, I’m sure that’s gonna be the ONLY time that this show will be THAT blatantly nineties, right? It’s not like they’ll make an episode about Furbies or something! Oh wait, this episode is about cute artificial animals that people can’t get enough of? Okay then. Well to be fair, this episode predates those toys by at least six years so maybe they were simply ahead of their time when they made this! Will this episode manage to bring the series back on track after the stumble that was the last episode, or will the show continue to feel out of place and outdated as they continue to scramble to come up with episodes to fill out the season? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Usagi having a nightmare where she’s being chased by… I don’t know, the Smoke Monster?
Things start to turn around for her though when Tuxedo Mask comes in and saves her from the monster, but before the dream can get REALLY good she’s woken up by the blood-curdling screams of terror from her younger brother Shingo. Did Jadeite finally figure out Sailor Moon’s true idea titular and is taking his revenge!? Nope! Apparently the guy is just afraid of cats and Luna wandered into his room during the night which is cause enough to wake the whole damn house and probably leave a mess in those sheets. Like any good sister, Usagi takes this moment of weakness and exploits the hell out of it!
Well I guess now is as good a time as any to introduce Luna to the rest of the family and beg them to allow her to stay. Her parents seem fine with it (her father had met Luna already in the previous episode) but Shingo isn’t about to live under the same roof as that furry death machine! Clearly Luna needs to put on the feline charms in order to get him to agree to the new arrangement, so she ends up going to a pet store to see how cats get people to like them. Wait, what?
Correct me if I’m wrong but Luna is an actual cat, right? We’re not talking about some human who got cursed or whatever, so why would she need lessons on acting like a cat? Wait, is this like a Pretty Woman thing where she’s been a gruff and unsociably kitty for her entire adorable life, but now has to learn how to be a proper pet? You’d figure that her being part of the royal family for centuries would have covered that at some point! Also… this might be just me, but SCREW Shingo! I’m sure Luna is a MILLION times smarter and more well-mannered than he is but SHE’S the one who needs an attitude adjustment!? While Luna’s taking notes on acting proper, Jadeite and Queen Beryl (aka BEST QUEEN EVER) are in Dark Kingdom and plotting their next plan. Honesty, they’ve had a pretty damn good track record so far! Sure Sailor Moon keeps stopping them, but they manage to steal a lot of life energy in the process! The next plan seems to be their most sinister yet as they’ve hired a subcontractor named Iguara to handle things this time around. How can you go wrong with someone named Iguara!? We’ll have to wait to find out what the next big scheme is because we cut to Usagi’s school where we find out that Shingo was bitten by a cat at a very young age and is now forever traumatized. Now that seems to be a pretty small reason to hate an entire species… but Luna isn’t really helping things.
Luna’s MASTER scheme clearly doesn’t work so she just slinks off somewhere while Shingo is emotionally resuscitated by a girl he knows at school named Mika whom I’m guessing will only be here for one episode considering this is her introduction and we are very much steeped in filler episodes. The two of them head to a new pet shop in town (oh boy, here we go) that has some sort of super pet in them called Chanelas. I would have gone with Mogwai, but whatever.
The Satan Animals get their hooks into poor little Shingo and Mika who walk home with their Chia Pets in hand and are so under their spell that they ignore a stray dog! I mean, if it’s a stray dog then plenty of OTHER people probably ignored it too, but it can ALSO mean that these two are Chanela junkies now! Back at the homestead, Luna is ready to give up on getting Shingo to like her (I’m sure she has better things to do with her time) but Usagi isn’t hearing it! Luna gets to tell her how to be a better guardian of love and justice ALL the time, so she’s gonna take this opportunity to push Luna towards doing something she finds challenging to show her how it feels! Well the opportunity to get this over with presents itself as Shingo just got home and Luna tries to turn up the charm enough to convert him to a cat person. It uh… it doesn’t go QUITE as planned.
I don’t care WHAT spell this kid is under, YOU DON’T PUNT A CAT CLEAR ACROSS A FREAKING ROOM!! The little bastard then declares that the Chanela will be the only pet in this house and that Luna better GTFO before things get REALLY ugly! This is enough to get Usagi to break down in tears (I don’t blame her) which scares off Shingo and his master plan to… I guess bully Usagi and Luna. This isn’t the first time Usagi got the bad guys to back off by crying her eyes out (and I doubt it will be the last) but I actually like it when this happens. I like the idea that she can get the villains to just awkwardly walk off when they start to go too far. It’s a great way to show how ridiculous these guys are that they can be made to look like fools so easily! It turns out that Luna is okay and Usagi dries her tears long enough to go downstairs for some tea with the rest of her family including the cat kicking jerk. Everyone is admiring the Chanela which we’re told doesn’t even need food to live, and yet no one questions that fact. Even Usagi can’t figure out that thing is sending out massively evil vibes!? Their parents agree to let him keep the Chanela while Usagi gets to have Luna, but the little punk refuses to even let Luna stay in the house. Apparently it’s TOO DARN MUCH to allow OTHER people to enjoy something he doesn’t even though what they’re getting doesn’t interfere with what he already has.
It takes a while, but Usagi figures out that something isn’t quite kosher wither that demonic rabbit thingy that Shingo is so obsessed with. In fact, she sees it start to glow as he stares longingly at it for a disturbing amount of time. So what does Usagi do with this new information? She leaves him alone to continue looking at the damn thing while she goes to school. She should REALLY be a bit more proactive in this whole hero thing. It ALWAYS takes her forever to take charge of these situations even when she has very clear evidence of wrongdoing or dark magic. Maybe a couple more Chanela addicts will clue her in. Oh look! Half the kids at school have them and are completely obsessed! How obsessed? Not only do they have to pull them out in the middle of class to get their adorable fix, one of them even knocks down Miss Haruna for trying to confiscate a pet!!
Usagi finally gets the idea that the Chanelas are full of EVIL now that she’s seen the best teacher in the world get attacked by a student, so she finally decides to investigate this pet store that all of them are coming from. Isn’t this like the fourth business to spring up out of nowhere and is full of evil that Usagi has had to wrestle with so far? Does she even really need to look into it at this point and just assumes that whoever is running this is some sort of demon lady? Actually, she kind of does realize that and is hesitant to go in considering what these damn things have done to other people but then Mamoru has to make his appearance and all of a sudden the demon-infested store seems a lot more pleasant than standing outside of it with that prick.
Maybe if we ignore the guy enough, he’ll just stop showing up in these episodes. Now this is where things get weird. Usagi almost immediately starts falling under their spell (no surprise there) but for some reason Luna is hanging out in the store as well and tries to warn Usagi to stay away from the pets! WHAT!? What the hell is she even doing there!? How did she know Usagi was going to be here and would need her to keep from falling under the spell!? It’s not even like Luna succeeds because Usagi gets a pet anyway and ends up just like all the other people who bought them. Well Luna ain’t gonna stand for this! ABSOLUTELY NOT!! She steals the Chanela right out of Usagi’s hand, takes it over a fence, and presumably murders it in cold blood. I guess those things really are vampires because now that the beast has been slain, Usagi is free from its hypnotic spell and is ready to kick some ass! She rushes back home, confronts Shingo, and slaps the heck out of him when he doesn’t hand over the devil monster!
Sadly, Usagi’s pimp hand just isn’t strong enough to put Shingo back in line and he ends up running off with his monster. Usagi feels pretty bad about what just happened but Luna tells her that she ain’t got time for this and that she better transform into Sailor Moon if she wants to save her brother. Insert transformation sequence, and then cut to Shingo and all the other Chanela-bros who are at the pet shop and awaiting orders from their fearless leader! The pet shop owner (I’m guessing she’s Iguara) tells them to take the remaining Chanelas and distribute them among the masses. I’m not sure how this works considering that those hypnotized become infatuated with the Chanelas and I figure they’d keep them for themselves instead of giving them away, but whatever.
Before this cult can carry out their evil schemes, Sailor Moon shows up with promises of ass-whoopings all around! Iguara turns out to be a lizard monster (wow. Didn’t see that coming…) and Usagi does what she always does which is to run away screaming until either Tuxedo Mask and Luna come by to rescue her. She starts getting chased by the mob of devote Chanela followers and… wait, they’ve turned into lizard people too? HOLY CRAP! DAVID ICKE WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!! They back Sailor Moon into a corner and sure enough Luna comes by to tell her that she can’t rely on Tuxedo Mask to solve her problems (he actually doesn’t show up this episode!) and then tells her exactly what to do instead of letting her figure it out on her own. Okay, MAYBE a life or death situation isn’t the best time for a sink or swim lesson, but she’s not really giving her much of a chance to come into her own as a Sailor Scout either! There’s actually a really great moment here where Luna tells her to use her decapitating tiara attack, but then Usagi has to remind her that killing her younger brother is probably not the best move and so Luna suggests a non-lethal attack. SERIOUSLY!? Did she REALLY just suggest she kill a whole bunch of kids who were being brainwashed!? That or maybe she really is teaching Usagi how to think on her own! Anyway, the alternate attack (Moon Tiara Stardust) cast an area effect de-spell which causes everyone to become de-lizardized and just leaves Iguara to deal with. They take this fight outside and Sailor Moon takes care of her pretty quickly. After getting caught in Iguara’s tail, she just throws her tiara at her ass and that wins the match. No seriously, her weak spot was in her ass.
Iguara turns to dust, so do the Chanelas, and everything is right with the world!! Shingo is the only one who thinks to run after the mysterious savior and so Sailor Moon has to hide out of view to make sure he doesn’t see her. She still TALKS to him though and for whatever reason he can’t recognize her voice. Her demands for saving his life is to be nice to Luna and I guess he’s more than willing to do whatever the superhero in a miniskirt asks of him.
We cut to the Usagi house the next day where Shingo has COMPLETELY gotten over his fear of cats and is now being super-duper nice to Luna as was commanded by the one and only Sailor Moon! And so the episode ends with Usagi having saved the day once again and no one in her family being the wiser!
This was a damn fun episode all the way around despites some minor flaws here and there. I wish Jadeite had a stronger role here and wasn’t just relegated to the beginning of the episode (Iguara’s supervisor if you will) because he’s always fun to watch when he’s being slimy and charming. Luna was a bit odd in the episode, in that she had to learn how to be a cat and then she randomly showed up in the pet store for no reason, but she’s also very level headed throughout this adventure and is probably the best part of the episode. Her commanding presence and persistent rationality is great for the kind of mentor character she has to play for Usagi’s sake, and yet being a cat also limits what she can do so she has to rely on Usagi to eventually get things resolved with her guidance. Filler episodes in most anime can be obnoxious and very rarely rise above competent. While I can’t be certain this show will continue to excel as the season goes along, it’s been a real blast so far and I hope that they keep this as fun as it has been so far, filler episodes or not!